We have received numerous emails from members of our community, who like us, are appalled to see adverts running on ITV promoting holidays to the occupied northern part of Cyprus. “North Cyprus”, described as “legally invalid” by the UN, was occupied by Turkey after its illegal invasions of Cyprus in 1974.
We encourage you to make your voice heard and make a compliant to ITV at the following web address: https://www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint.html
We have provided a letter below that can be used as a template:

I am appalled to see that ITV are running adverts for holidays to “north Cyprus”, the area of the Republic of Cyprus that has been under illegal Turkish military occupation since 1974. The advert appears to be made by the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Ministry of Tourism and Environment” and displays images and video clips of the territory of Cyprus that was illegally invaded and occupied by Turkey in 1974. To this day, Turkey occupies 37% of the island and 57% of its coastline. I am deeply upset that these adverts have been allowed to be broadcast on national television.
Turkey’s illegal occupation of the northern third of Cyprus had devastating consequences: thousands murdered; missing persons whose fates have yet to be determined; and thousands of refugees, many of whom fled to the UK. Since 1974, Turkey has attempted to alter the demographics of Cyprus through forced population settlement in the occupied areas; and it has pursued the destruction of the cultural heritage of the island by desecrating churches and cultural sites. It is therefore inappropriate and offensive for these adverts to be shown.
The legal status of “north Cyprus” (shortened form of “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”) under international law and according to the UK Government is clear. UNSC resolution 550 describes it as “legally invalid” and specifically calls for all actors “not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity.” As a P5 UNSC member, this is followed by the UK Government, which has held a consistent and long-standing position of non-recognition of the illegal ‘North Cyprus’ regime. In 1983, Prime Minister Thatcher wrote the following to the President of Turkey about the illegal declaration of independence of “north Cyprus”: “I should like to urge you, as President of one of the signatory states of the Treaty of Guarantee to do your utmost to secure the reversal of this action by the Turkish Cypriots and, meanwhile, not support the declaration which they have already made.”
It is therefore inappropriate and a breach of the UK’s obligations under international law for an advert to be broadcast that illegally assists an act of secession. It is unbelievable that these adverts could have passed clearance, allowing holidays to occupied territory to be advertised on national television. I cannot imagine that any other illegally occupied territories would be allowed to run tourism adverts on British television – the same should apply to the occupied northern part of Cyprus.
Furthermore, these adverts violate the following provisions of the BCAP Code:
1. Contravention of 7.2.1 a) – prohibition of “an advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature”
– The advert was produced by the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ministry of Tourism and Environment” and, as we have explained, the “TRNC” is an illegal, non-recognised regime. As a secessionist regime operating from an occupied territory, it’s overwhelming objective is undeniably political. Specifically, it seeks the attempted legitimisation of its own status by gaining international recognition and normalising its existence through tourism.
2. Contravention of 7.2.1 b) – prohibition of “an advertisement which is directed towards a political end”
– By promoting holidays to “north Cyprus” to British audiences, the advertisers aim to achieve their political objective of the normalisation of the occupation of Cyprus and/or recognition of their illegal secessionist regime. They hope that by encouraging British tourists to visit on holiday, it will normalise the status quo and legitimise the division of Cyprus. UNSC resolution 550 specifically prohibits this type of action with an obligation on UN member states not to “recognise, facilitate or in any way assist the illegal entity”. With this clear political end in mind, this advert should be prohibited.
3. The adverts are aimed at “influencing public opinion on a matter which, in the United Kingdom, is a matter of public controversy” [7.2.2 f]
– Given the aim of these adverts, as explained above, and considering Britain’s long-standing stance of non-recognition of “north Cyprus”, these adverts clearly attempt to influence public opinion on a matter of public controversy. By seeking to use tourism to legitimise “north Cyprus” as an entity, these adverts contribute towards the undermining of UK Government policy on Cyprus. They also misrepresent the reality of the situation in Cyprus to the British public who could be lured into believing that “north Cyprus” is simply a holiday destination, changing their perception of it as a non-recognised entity. In effect, “north Cyprus” is paying to change British public opinion of its illegal, secessionist status.

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